Evaluating the Communicative Competence of EFL Students in Iraqi Universities

Main Article Content

Sahima A. Bdaiwi
Inaad M. Sayer



Recent teaching methods have made communication competence (CC) a central component, and the enhancement of EFL students' communicative competence has been given a great deal of attention in recent years. Within this context, this study was designed to assess the CC of Iraqi students majoring in English Language and literature at the tertiary level. In order to achieve this objective, the researchers aimed to collect responses from 509 Iraqi EFL students who are affiliated to six universities in different geographical regions of Iraq. The questionnaire used for this purpose consisted of 36 items which addressed six themes, namely General Competence, Behavioral Flexibility, Empathy, Affiliation/Support, Social Relaxation, and Interaction Management. The study addressed five research questions. The quantitative analyses of the collected data showed that Iraqi EFL students have, generally speaking, a moderate level of CC, and that their CC was significantly affected by their age. However, the gender and affiliation of the participants did not have any statistically significant impact on their CC. In addition, the results showed that there is a positive correlation between the five facets of CC. Based on the study results, it can be concluded that the CC of Iraqi EFL students is not well-developed and need to be improved. Therefore, the study suggested some pedagogical implications to improve their communicative competence.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Bdaiwi, S. A. . and Sayer, I. M. (2023) “Evaluating the Communicative Competence of EFL Students in Iraqi Universities”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(1), pp. 185-196. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v6n1y2023.pp185-196.
Author Biographies

Sahima A. Bdaiwi, English Department, College of Languages, University of Human Development, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Sahima Abdulssalam Bdaiwi is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Human Development. She has been a faculty member there since 2008. Sahima received her MA in English Language and Linguistics from Baghdad University in 2006. Her teaching experience at tertiary level is about 14 years. Her research interests involve applied linguistics and language teaching and learning.

Inaad M. Sayer, English Department, College of Languages, University of Human Development, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.

Dr. Inaad Mutlib Sayer is an Asst. Prof. in the Department of English at the University of Human Development. He has been a faculty member there since 2014. Dr. Sayer received his PhD in English Language & Linguistics from Baghdad University in 2008. His teaching experience at tertiary level is about 26 years. His research interests involve psycholinguistics, phonology, language teaching and learning.


Agbatogun, A. O., 2014. Developing learners' second language communicative competence through active learning: Clickers or communicative approach? Educational Technology and Society, 17(2), pp.257-269.

Ayish, M.I., 2003. Beyond western-oriented communication theories: A normative Arab Islamic perspective. Javnost-The Public,10(2), pp.79-92. https://doi.org/10.1080/13183222.2003.11008829

Bachman, L. F., 1990. Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Berger, C. R.,1977. Interpersonal communication theory and research: An overview. Communication Yearbook, 7, pp.217-228.

Canale, M. and Swain, M., 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), pp.1-47.

Chomsky, N.,1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Dubin, F., 1989. Situating literacy within traditions of communicative competence. Applied Linguistics, 10(2), pp.171–181.

Fang, F., 2010. A Discussion on developing students' communicative competence in college English teaching in China. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 1(2), pp. 111-116.


Farooq, M. U., 2015. Creating a communicative language teaching environment for improving students' communicative competence at EFL/EAP university level. International Education Studies, 8(4), pp.179-191. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ies.v8n4p179

Feghali, E., 1997. Arab cultural communication patterns. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 21(3), pp. 345-378. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/S0147-1767(97)00005-9

Fox, J., and Weisberg, S., 2020. Car: Companion to Applied Regression. [R package]. Retrieved from https://cran.r-project.org/package=car.

Gilmore, A., 2011. "I Prefer Not Text": Developing Japanese learners' communicative competence with authentic materials. Language Learning, 61(3), pp. 786-819. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011. 00634.x

Güven, S., 2015. EFL Learners' attitudes towards learning intercultural communicative competence. MA. Bilkent University.

Hymes, D.H., 1972. On communicative competence. In: J.B. Pride and J. Holmes, eds. Sociolinguistics. London: Penguin.

Hymes, D.H., 1974. Foundations in sociolinguistics: an ethnographic approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Ibna Seraj, P. M., and Hadina, H., 2021. A systematic overview of issues for developing EFL learners’ oral English communication skills. Journal of Language and Education, 7(1), pp. 229-240. https://doi.org/10.17323/jle.2021.10737

Jeong, H., 2018. Developing EFL learners' communicative competence through multimedia-assisted language learning. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology, 96(5), pp. 1367-1376.

Kazemian, M., Khodareza, M. R., Khonamri, F., and Rahimy, R., 2021. Instruction on intercultural communicative competence and its application by Iranian EFL male and female writers. Education and Self Development, 16(1): pp. 21-39. https://doi.org/10.26907/esd16.1.04

Kim, S.-J. and Kim, H.-H., 2013. Impact of communication competence and empathy abilities on interpersonal relationship abilities among dental hygiene students. Journal of Dental Hygiene Science, 13, 304-313. https://www.jkdhs.org/journal/view.html?spage=304&volume=13&number=3

Keshmirshekan, M. H., 2019. Improving upper-intermediate EFL learners’ communicative competence through authentic materials. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 9(8), pp. 956-964. http://dx.doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0908.10

Losada, C. A., Insuasty, E. A., and Osorio, M. F., 2017. The impact of authentic materials and tasks on students’ communicative competence at a Colombian language school. Profile. 19(1), pp.89-104. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v19n1.56763

Nazari, A., 2007. EFL teachers' perception of the concept of communicative competence. ELT Journal, 61(3), pp.202-210. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccm027

R Core Team, 2021. R: A Language and environment for statistical computing. (Version 4.1) [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://cran.r-project.org. (R packages retrieved from MRAN snapshot 2022-01-01).

Saleh, S. M., 2013. Understanding communicative competence. University Bulletin, 15(3), pp.101-110.

The jamovi project, 2022. jamovi. (Version 2.3) [Computer Software]. Retrieved from https://www.jamovi.org.

Santos JLG, Copelli FHS, Balsanelli AP, Sarat CNF, Menegaz JC, Trotte LAC, Stipp MAC, Soder RM., 2019. Interpersonal communication competence among nursing students. Rev. Latino-Am. Enfermagem. 27: e3207. [Acommunicative competenceess 25/09/2023]; Availablein: https://www.scielo.br/j/rlae/a/cdDP8kKKDGD5tnjx95rCY5p/?format=pdf&lang=en. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1518-8345.3226.3207.

Tuan, V. V., 2017. Communicative Competence of the Fourth Year Students: Basis for Proposed English Language Program. English Language Teaching, 10(7), pp.104-122. http://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v10n7p104

Wiemann, J. M.,1977. Explication and test of a model of communicative competence. Human Communication Research, 3(3), pp.195–213. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1977.tb00518.x

Zaharna, R. S.,1995. Understanding cultural preferences of Arab communication patterns. Public Relations Review, 21(3), pp.241-255. https://doi.org/10.1016/0363-8111(95)90024-1.